In order to familiarize candidates with Ohio’s early childhood education system, this week Groundwork Ohio sent our updated Ohio Early Childhood Education Gubernatorial Reference Manual to the nominees for Ohio governor and their staff to review. Included in this manual was a focused collection of high-level research and news media resources that tell a powerful story supporting an indisputable case for increasing investments in Ohio’s early childhood education system. “The case for investing in quality early education is clear,” said Shannon Jones, Executive Director of Groundwork Ohio. “Prioritizing kids is the right move for working families and the right investment for our state’s long-term economic success.” Currently, only 40% of Ohio kids enter kindergarten ready to learn, so it is not surprising that only 43% of our workforce has a degree or credential that qualifies them for available jobs. This gap is set to increase over the next few years—by 2020, 65% of jobs will require more than a high school diploma. “We know that the investments we make early on have an impact throughout the lifespan,” said Robyn Lightcap, Co-Chair of Groundwork Ohio and Executive Director of Learn to Earn Dayton. “Kids who receive a quality early education are more likely to demonstrate school readiness, graduate from high school, and be in good health and are less likely to be involved in criminal behavior. We can’t afford to wait any longer before investing in our youngest learners.” Check out the reference manual and other Groundwork resources here.
The Vote for Ohio Kids campaign has been working around the clock to ensure that Ohio kids are front and center during the upcoming governor's election. We are excited to see that both gubernatorial candidates are engaging in conversations about our youngest learners! Yesterday, Attorney General Mike DeWine and his running mate Secretary of State Jon Husted announced plans to make significant investments in Ohio's early childhood education system. After announcing their plans in Cleveland and Columbus yesterday, the campaign participated in roundtable discussions in Cincinnati and Dayton today, where parents, providers, experts, and advocates shared their experiences and insights with Attorney General DeWine and Secretary Husted. Thank you to everyone who helped plan, host, and participate in these important conversations!
Earlier this year, Richard Cordray participated in an early childhood education roundtable in Dayton, which was closely followed by an announcement on his plans invest in Universal Pre-K. We look forward to further elevating the importance of investing in Ohio kids at our Leadership Forum in September and working hard to ensure that our next governor--no matter who it is--makes our youngest learners a top priority.